“The car is insured in Portugal, not the person”. This is, of course correct as the car is always the insured item in every country, the difference is the way the policy is written. However, the context of this statement is basically incorrect as in every country the car is insured by the owner and insured in their name.

In Portugal, motor insurance covers the owner, who is the policyholder, but then, with Portuguese insurers the cover extends to any other qualified driver aged over 18 who holds a full valid licence. Ibex has some age restrictions but the concept is the same. When insured in UK, the car is also insured in the name of the policyholder but additional drivers are treated differently, and any additional drivers have to be specifically named, usually at an extra cost. Put simply, ask yourself who completes a proposal form and pays the premium. If the car actually signs the proposal and pays the premium, then the car is insured, not the person!

“My UK car should only be here for 6 months so I drive to Spain for a day and then start counting again”. Under EU regulations (please note, not just Portuguese regulations) a car should only be in a country for a maximum of 183 days out of any consecutive 365 days, not necessarily a calendar year, and this actually applies to all countries within the Schengen area. This means that if you drive to Spain on day 90 and return the next day, you come back on day 91. As Spain is within the Schengen area of countries, driving into Spain does not stop the clock from counting.

“I only use my car for two months a year so the maximum six months doesn’t apply to me”. The fact that the car is in the country means that the period of 183 days is exceeded; it is the location of the car that matters, not the number of times it is used.

These elements do not mean that your insurance is invalid – your policy will cover for the full year because insurance is not dependent upon the location of a car.

“Third Party Only is the same as Third Party, Fire & Theft”. These are two separate and distinct levels of cover and Portuguese insurers do not offer Fire or Theft as options – if comprehensive is not available or not chosen, the cover is Third Party Only with glass and breakdown included. However, Ibex does offer Third Party, Fire & Theft on some types of vehicles and which are valued at less than €7,500.

"I don't have to change my UK licence. I still have an EU licence even though UK is no longer in the EU" Just because UK was a member state of the EU when your licence was issued, it does not follow that a UK licence remains an EU licence. As with driving a UK car, if you live in any EU country for more than six months, you are legally required to change your licence to the country of residence. Pre-Brexit, Portugal was quite relaxed about driving with a UK licence or, indeed, a licence from any other EU country, as long as it was registered with IMTT. However, post-Brexit, having an EU symbol on your UK licence does not make it an EU licence; Since UK left the EU, your UK licence is now non-EU and treated in the same way as any other non-EU licence.

"If my car is hit when parked and I don't know who did it, I won't lose my No Claims Discount if I claim for repairs" This may be the case if you opted for protected No Claims Discount, otherwise you will need to pay the policy excess and you will lose at least some of your No Claims Discount at the time of renewal. Most policies, including Ibex, will include protection if you are hit by an uninsured driver so that you would not lose your No Claims Discount. However, if you do not know who damaged your car, you cannot know that they were uninsured, so that clause will not be applicable. To claim for damage caused by an uninsured person, you must prove that this was the case.

A phrase we hear many times at Ibex is "I have it on good authority" but when we question the "authority" it usually turns out to be an opinion on an expatriate’s blog or a friend/neighbour.

You would not ask a banker to re-wire your house so why believe a blog or the man standing next to you in the bar instead of asking the experts?

Ibex Insurance has over 20 years experience of insuring expatriates and by now, we know the actual rules.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to call into one of our offices in Almancil or Tavira to get the most suitable policy to meet your needs or call us on 800 860 708 / 289 399 774 for Almancil or 281 325 842 for Tavira. Or if you prefer, send an e-mail to ptnews@ibexinsure.com